Greetings! Does anyone have experience using Sheep to eliminate Tansy Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)?
The pasture has been continuously stocked with horses for decades, and now there is a huge population of Ragwort.
I'm pretty sure they are saying, "enough with the horses already!"
There is a population of Cinnabar Moths whose larvae eat it and Flea Beetles damage it, but not significantly enough.
It can be pulled when the soil is wet (and makes good mulch) but there is too much for that. And each pull makes a bare spot that the rootlets and seeds recolonize. Mowing causes it to perennialize and make even more seed.
I have read that if the plants go to seed they will die, and if the soil stays undisturbed the seeds will not grow.
They are lovely plants useful traditionally for removing tumours, etc... and they cool the soil beneath by their shade, but...
They are toxic to most livestock and dominate the pasture thoroughly.
I have read that Sheep will eat them to oblivion without ill effects to their own livers.
I don't want to have to shear wool, so Hair Sheep appeal to me.
Does anyone have experience in this particular situation?
Any Hair Sheep breeds better than others at foraging this plant?
How many sheep would I need to effectively work a 5-acre area?
Also, blackberries and thistles in abundance.
Thank you kindly for any help.